September 11th -Remembering Aviation’s darkest day

I had a lazy morning on September 11 2001, I was having a lay-in after a previous night at work and just watching the news in bed when suddenly, everything changed.

A newsflash broke on BBC news that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre in New York.

I continued to watch transfixed, I knew it was busy airspace around there but the weather looked clear from the live shots. What on earth had happened that a highly skilled crew could accidentally hit one of the most famous buildings in the world.

Then everything changed again, as I watched live, a second plane crashed into the adjacent tower of the World Trade Centre.

Immediately I started to think, this is no accident.

South Tower gets hit on 9-11 (Photo Credit: NIST SIPA [Public domain]
South Tower gets hit on 9-11 (Photo Credit: NIST SIPA [Public domain]

Terrorists from Al Qaeda had managed to hijack four aircraft on domestic flights in the United States and crashed two into the World Trade Centre, One into the Pentagon and a fourth that crashed in Pensylvania after passengers tried to overpower the hijackers.

In New York, the unthinkable happened, sometime after the initial impacts, the Towers collapsed.

The details of what happened are well documented so this is not the place for them but in total, 2,977 people lost their lives. The 19 hijackers also died.

The crashing, albeit deliberate, of four airlines in the space of a few hours was undoubtedly the most fatal day in the history of aviation and for many, marks its darkest hours.

The aviation industry’s thoughts turned to how this could never happen again and sweeping changes were made to how aircraft and crew operate.

This included things like having reinforced cockpit doors which remain locked during the flight, photo ID required, even for domestic flights and much more stringent rules on what kind of implements can be carried on board, the hijackers used boxcutter knives.

All this means that today, flying is more secure than ever and thankfully, this will remain as the darkest day.

On a personal note, I left for work the next morning. Turned on the radio and no one was talking but I remember that the first song that came on summed up the attitude of New Yorkers, Americans and the free world perfectly.

It was Labi Siffre – Something inside so strong.

So whatever you are doing today, take a moment to remember those 2,977 innocent victims and remember September 11th.

About Nick Harding 845 Articles
Nick is the senior reporter and editor at UK Aviation News as well as working freelance elsewhere. He has his finger firmly on the pulse on Aviation, not only in the UK but worldwide. Nick has been asked to speak in a professional capacity on LBC, Heart and other broadcast networks.